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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

Last Friday, I was enjoying a Chipotle burrito bowl for dinner. Or rather, I was trying to. I was ravenous to say the least. Driving home from campus, I was ecstatic to be going home for the weekend. It had been a long day at school, the traffic was atrocious, and this burrito bowl was the only thing keeping me from pulling my own hair out. My mouth watered as I zipped into Chipotle’s parking lot. The savory smell of my dinner tucked itself into every corner of my car, torturing me during the agonizing seven-minute drive home. Once I reached my driveway, I stormed into my kitchen prepared to demolish this bowl. I wouldn’t get away that easily, though. My mom sauntered into the kitchen and made sure I was eating under her watchful eye. “Good for you,” she said, “I could never eat that much.” I acknowledged her comment, rolled my eyes, and enjoyed my dinner in peace.

If you’ve stumbled across this article, my guess is that it wasn’t by accident. You too may have fallen victim to an almond mom. If you don’t know what an almond mom is, you are more than welcome to eat in front of mine–she’ll show you what it is. 

The definition of an almond mom is “a parent who follows incredibly strict or dangerously unhealthy eating habits and attempts to force them on their children.” I’d say that just about covers it. However, my mom did not succeed with that last part. In fact, I would say she never tried to force her habits on me, but they were heavily implied through her subtle judgment at the dinner table. 

If it wasn’t me, I would assume I would resent my mom. However, this is far from the truth. Do I take pleasure in being her punching bag when she needs somewhere to deflect her own insecurities? Obviously not. Who would? Instead of getting angry with her, I take pity on her. I do not fault her for what her parents did to make her feel as though she was never good enough.

Fortunately for me, I have my older sister who picks me up when I start to fall down the slippery slope that my mom sets up for me. When the shrouded criticism gets to be too much, it’s my sister who throws me reassuring glances across the dinner table, communicating to me, “You’re fine, don’t listen to her.”

I must also express my gratitude for the honest discussions regarding body image across social media. Most almond moms are not as fortunate as we are to have influencers and role models to look up to when we struggle with insecurities to build a healthy relationship with food. Through the reassuring words of these online figures, our generation has been granted the understanding that harboring feelings of fear and resentment towards food is not healthy.

That being said, it is this exact reason why I choose pity over anger; why I choose compassion over annoyance. Was nobody there to protect my mom when she was going through the very same thing that her daughters are? Did her older sisters fail her while mine was my lifeline? If you find yourself relating to my frustrations, I suggest you offer your mom some grace. It may not seem like it, but she is still healing from a wound that she didn’t create. 

Riley Thornton

West Chester '26

Riley is a sophomore secondary English education student at West Chester University. When she is not pursuing her passion for writing and literature, she can be found jogging around campus, discovering new coffee shops, or binging "Friends" for the 20th time! Riley enjoys exploring the grounds of pop culture, mental health, current trends, and popular reads!